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7 March 2010

Next Meeting Wednesday, March 24

Southern Song, 12th century, qingbai (bluish-white) glazed porcelain stem cup in the Freer Collection.

The next meeting of the WOCG will take place on Wednesday, 24 March, from 3:00-4:30 pm in the storage area of the Freer Gallery of Art. This will be a handing session for Tang (618-907 C.E.) and Song dynasty (960-1279) wares in the Freer collection. For security and space reasons only 15 members can participate. Attendance will be on a first-come first-serve basis. RSVP by replying to this email, or 703 503 3195, or to David or Hedy. Please assemble in the Freer foyer on the National Mall side by NLT 2:55 pm. The nearest Metro stop is the Smithsonian station on the Blue and Orange line, which is a two minute walk from the Freer.

Synopsis of the February 28 talk

Mattiebelle Gittinger of the Textile Museum in a splendid presentation gave us a 101 introductory class on Indonesian batik followed by a master class on a late 1930s Javanese sarong from the TM collection incorporating fantastic “Avatar”-like images from a contemporary Flash Gordon comic book. She also commented on batiks brought by WOCG members.

Batik is a manual wax-resist dyeing technique for decorating fabrics. There are two basic categories of batik made in Java – subdued, powerful designs in somber browns, indigo blues and whites for the courts of Central Java, and the bright, colorful painted cottons of the north coast of Java with birds, flowers motifs from the Chinese repertoire, as well as Dutch and Eurasian inspirations. The best batiks are invariably made on very fine cotton fabrics. The classic period of Javanese batik was in the second half of the 19th century to the first quarter of the 20th century. Very beautiful batiks with quite different motifs were made during the Japanese occupation in WW II. Most of those survive in Japan.

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